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While excavating the ruins of a 3,000-year-old fortified city overlooking Israel’s Valley of Elah, where the Bible records that David slew Goliath, archeologists have discovered artifacts that indicate historical evidence of King David and the golden age of his kingdom.
The archaeological site, called Elah Fortress, or Khirbet Qeiyafa, is about 12 miles southwest of Jerusalem. There, Hebrew University archaeologists found a shard of pottery with five lines of faded text inscribed on it, possibly ancient Hebrew. Carbon-14 dating of burnt olive pits, found in the same layer of the site, dates back to 1000-975 B.C., predating the famous Dead Sea Scrolls by a thousand years.
Already, religionists and secularists are debating the merits and accuracy of the recent discovery.
The New York Times: “For many Jews and Christians, even those who do not take Scripture literally, the Bible is a vital historical source. And for the state of Israel, which considers itself to be a reclamation of the state begun by David, evidence of the biblical account has huge symbolic value. The Foreign Ministry’s Web site, for example, presents the kingdom of David and Solomon along with a map of it as a matter of fact. But the archaeological record of that kingdom is exceedingly sparse—in fact almost nonexistent—and a number of scholars today argue that the kingdom was largely a myth created some centuries later. A great power, they note, would have left traces of cities and activity, and been mentioned by those around it. Yet in this area nothing like that has turned up—at least until now.”
Associated Press: “Some scholars and archeologists argue that the Bible’s account of David’s time inflates his importance and that of his kingdom, and is essentially myth, perhaps rooted in a shred of fact. But if Garfinkel’s claim is borne out, it would bolster the case for the Bible’s accuracy by indicating the Israelites could record events as they happened, transmitting the history that was later written down in the Old Testament several hundred years later. It also would mean that the settlement—a fortified town with a 30-foot-wide (10-meter-wide) monumental gate, a central fortress and a wall running 770 yards (700 meters) in circumference—was probably inhabited by Israelites.”
Hebrew University archaeologist Yossi Garfinkel is in charge of the dig.